Tag Archives: college

The Mister Hits a Homer

Jake holds his new prized possession.

Jake holds his new prized possession.

During spring break the Mister asked Jake a supposedly innocuous question: If you could have an autograph from any major league baseball player, who would it be?

Our older son, who boasts an encyclopedic amount of useless baseball information in his gray matter, didn’t hesitate one bit.

“Billy Martin,” he said. He’s always liked the fiery former player and manager.

After the boys returned to their respective college campuses, the Mister asked me what we were going to give Jake for his upcoming UTSA graduation. Naturally, I thought being debt-free should be enough. However, the doting dad had other ideas.

And that’s why the day after we returned from watching our pride and joy walk across the Alamodome stage, Jake opened one unique present from us.

So cool!

So cool!

Yep, it was a baseball autographed by the one and only Billy Martin, scored by the Mister on eBay.

Jake was thrilled! “Most people wouldn’t understand how meaningful this is to me,” he said, as he inspected the signature. “It will always be special to me.”

You’re special to us, sweet boy!

One-Word Wednesday

The Mister, Jake, Josh, real mom Cindy, girlfriend Claire, and real dad Charles surround Chase after he graduated from Rice University last Saturday.

The Mister, Jake, Josh, real mom Cindy, girlfriend Claire, and real dad Charles surround our “third son,” Chase, after he graduated from Rice University last Saturday.

Proud!

The bros: Jake, Chase, and Josh

The leaning bros: Jake, Chase, and Josh

Bye for Now

The Mister and our younger son

The Mister and our younger son stand side by side, as always.

Hear that sound? Neither do I!

Both my sons returned to their respective college campuses yesterday in anticipation of the start of the spring semester. Which, if you’ve been paying attention, is the final one for my older son, Jake.

First, C.J. packed up his Ford Fusion and left with his roommate, RJ, at 9:30 a.m. for the 90-minute trek to Huntsville. Why so early? They needed to check in at their dorm and then watch the NFL playoff games (one of which was sad for my younger son, who picked San Francisco to lose in his suicide pool; that knocked him out).

The sun bothers our older son’s eyes and my D700 light meter.

The sun bothers our older son’s eyes and my Nikon D700’s light meter.

Two hours later it was time for Jake to start the three-hour drive back to San Antonio. In this senior year of “lasts,” we checked off “last winter break.” I’m sure he’ll miss the four weeks of lazy days gaming with friends when he’s a working man.

I must admit that after three and a half years, I’m used to Jake coming and going during the school year. But my baby boy, the college freshman? Not so much. And I’m not so sure that I want to have it feel familiar. Before I know it, both boys probably will be out of the house, and I’ll always experience what greeted me this morning once the Mister left for work.

Quiet.

Good luck with your spring semesters, my sweet sons!

Then and Now

Looks like he’s happy to be home and back in his spot.

Looks like he’s happy to be home and back in his spot.

Now that my older son has returned from UTSA for his winter break (he drove home last Friday), our family is complete once again. My heart is full to the brim.

One of the first things that Jake does after he walks through the front door is set up his 2010 MacBook Pro in his spot at the far end of the dining room table. That’s been his computing comfort place since he first got his laptop after he graduated from high school three and a half years ago.

Looking at the above photo, I figured that I would check my archives to see how Jake looked with his MBP during his first collegiate winter break in 2010.

More of a baby face at the end of 2010

More of a baby face at the end of 2010

And here he is! What stands out most to me?

First, he’s staring down at the screen. He didn’t like having his photo snapped back then. Now he almost always looks at me and smiles. Love seeing those beautiful blue eyes!

Second, his face has changed so much! From the mere stubble of 2010 to the cute never-quite-filled-in beard, his features are more angular and adult. He’s definitely grown up.

Third, ironically, he’s wearing the exact same shirt in both photos! Yes, it does look faded now, but my Linkin Park fan continues to show his loyalty. As well as his penchant to wear the same t-shirts over and over and over again. How very male of him!

It makes me wonder what the photo of my sweet boy will be like next December. This is his final winter break, continuing his streak of “lasts” this senior year. Hopefully, Jake will be settled in an apartment (perhaps with his BFF, my “third son,” Chase) where he’ll have a new special computing spot.

One thing’s probably certain: I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still wearing that Linkin Park shirt then!

Back to Normal . . . For Now

By to the brothers

Bye to the brothers

It’s quiet in our house once again. My sons drove back to their respective universities yesterday for their last week of the fall semester and then finals. It was such a good Thanksgiving-break visit for them . . . and for the Mister and I.

By the time I’ve recovered and put the house back the way it was, the brothers will return once again. For a month!

Of course, I can’t wait! Study hard, my sons!

A Fun, Frustrating Time

Tanner, Chase, and Josh know where to look, not my sons.

Tanner, Chase, and Josh know where to look, not my sons.

What a nice weekend we enjoyed! First, both boys came home from UTSA and SHSU. While we waited for my younger son to arrive Friday afternoon and join his brother, we entertained my older son’s good friend Josh and my “third son,” Chase, who both attend college in Houston. Or should I say that they entertained me. It was good to get their take on life (and Runescape) and talk about what their post-graduate plans are (hard to believe that they’ll be done with college in May).

The boys met their pal Tanner Friday night at Buffalo Wild Wings to eat, chat, and play trivia (the Mister and I helped our disc golf friend Eric’s team and sat nearby). Saturday night (yep, cheap Mom relented so the boys could sleep in) we watched “Thor: The Dark World” movie and really enjoyed it (Loki is such a witty bad guy).

So stubborn!

So stubborn!

Then I spent the next couple days trying to get my younger son to cooperate and let me snap a pic or two of him.

“Stop it, Mom!”

“Stop it, Mom!”

Naturally, he refused to play nice. When I told him that one day his children will enjoy seeing photos of him, he replied, “You’ve taken enough pictures.”

Really, son? Enough?!? That word is not in the vocabulary of the momarazzo!

The two brothers

The two brothers (yes, Jake got his hair cut)

At least he put up with the usual pose-with-your-brother-before-you-leave harassment. Guess I’m thankful he threw me one little cooperation crumb.

Wonder what the photographic Thanksgiving break will be like . . . or do I.

Feathers A-Flying

The brothers (ages 4 and a half and almost 8)

The brothers (ages 4 and a half and almost 8)

Throwback Thursday has me thinking about life as an empty nester. It’s been almost 12 weeks since both of our sons flew the coop, the older one to finish his senior year at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the younger one to start his college journey at Sam Houston State.

So how has it been for dear, old mom, who is home alone during the day for the first time in almost 22 years? Lonely, my friends. Maytag man lonely. Oh, how I miss my sons!

The boys on their play cottage in 1999 with their  Pokémon collection

The boys on their backyard play cottage in 1999 with part of their Pokémon collection

What’s been hardest for me is that my younger son usually ignores me unless he needs homework help or someone to talk to while he drives through McDonald’s at night. Yes, my little sweetie who I’ve always been so close to! Before he left for SHSU, he told me straight out that he would not be like his older brother, who at least texts me good morning and good night every day (and usually quite a bit more).

I understand that he wants to assert his independence and become his own man, but, as I’ve told him many times this fall, caring is not a crime. There’s no off switch to your emotions when you’re a parent.

I hate the news blackout after 18 years of being in the loop. It stinks, and it hurts my heart.

Older brother helps his younger sibling with his homework 10 years ago.

Older brother helps his younger sibling with his homework 10 years ago.

My strategy has been to be patient and relish the communication opportunities that I do get. The kid does call and Skype more often than his older brother. Plus I listen intently while he and his father chat (he talks to him more), while throwing helpful suggestions for questions to ask (which the Mister usually fails to use . . . frustrating! Guys!!).

Fortunately for me, we’ve gotten to see our sons this semester, our younger son more often because he’s closer. My older son hasn’t returned home since he left in late August. That’s about to change, though, because he’s driving in from San Antonio tonight (he has no classes tomorrow)! When little bro heard about it, he also decided to come visit the old folks at home.

I’ll try not to make the grill too hot for him!

A Surprise in the Mail

Unbelievable!

Unbelievable!

Need proof that time does actually fly by? This was an envelope we received in the mail the other day.

Yep, my older son will graduate from the University of Texas at San Antonio in May!

Very official

Very official-looking

When we dropped him off in late August of 2010, four years seemed like an eternity. It’s almost surreal that our older son will reach this important milestone in a matter of months.

One more semester. Only 12 more hours (four classes) left until he has his marketing degree. What a wonderful achievement for him!

The Mister and I would like to make one little change to the wording on that envelope, though:

“That day you’ve been waiting for . . . off your parents’ payroll!”

Hope that’s not just wishful thinking!

Moving (and Spiking) on Up

I couldn’t resist think-bubbling this photo of Shelby from eighth grade.

Cool Shelby back in eighth grade

Putting the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae at last Saturday’s SHSU Family Weekend was the chance to watch college volleyball. The Bearkats’ schedule indicated that they would take on Houston Baptist University at 7:30 that evening.

Serving it up

Serving it up

Our main reason for staying late in Huntsville? The chance to see Shelby G. play.

The team is ready.

The team is ready.

My younger son and Shelby (and her twin brother, Sean) go waaaaaay back. They were in kindergarten together.

Spiking time

Spiking time

I’ve watched Shelby play volleyball at their middle school and high school. It’s been fun watching her skill level increase over the years. When we found out that she signed with SHSU, we knew we’d have to see her in action.

What goes up, must come down!

What goes up, must come down!

And we’re so glad we did! Shelby started at middle hitter, as she helped the ’Kats sweep HBU.

Eat ’em up, Shelby!

Sidebar: The SHSU photos were snapped with the Nikon 1 V1 and its 30-110mm lens. Fortunately, the lighting was great; ISO was 1600.

Battery Recharge

Back to his usual position on the supersofa.

Back to his usual position on the supersofa.

Look who brightened up our weekend!

When we Skyped with our younger son last Thursday night, we talked about him catching a ride with RJ’s dad, who was picking up his roommate the next day to bring home for a visit. The kid decided that he wanted to reconnect and recharge. It was great to get a hug in person!

Netflix streaming has led to addictions.

Netflix streaming has led to addictions.

The first thing he did was plop on the couch and queue up the final season of “Scrubs” on Netflix. The kid loves watching that show, and on more than one occasion, I’ve been caught up in his marathon viewing sessions. This was no exception.

Zzzzzzzz!

Zzzzzzzz!

Of course, he is a college student. Mainly, a tired one. After a couple episodes, he succumbed to the allure of soft pillows and snoozed for a few hours.

A crowded card: Hiral, Chris, Adam, Eric, the kid, Steve, the Mister, and Marcus

A crowded card: Hiral (hi!), Chris, Adam, Eric, the kid, Steve, the Mister, and Marcus

With the next day being Saturday, only one activity could fit the bill: Disc golf, of course.

The Mister putts.

The Mister putts.

The Mister and the kid joined bestie Eric and five others for a round of 18 at the nearby River Pointe Church’s course.

Easy-peasy!

Easy-peasy!

Even though he hadn’t played much since we moved him in at SHSU, my son managed to win by a stroke.

Talking strategy

Talking strategy

It was fun watching the collegian interact with his older buddies again. And it always tugs at my heartstrings to watch him and his devoted dad together. Those two are closerthanthis!

After that, he played a round at Tom Bass with his other disc golf bestie, Glen (the highlight was that the Mister and I got to visit with the ever-lovely Kelly and a snoozing baby Jonas; little Glen was napping in his room).

Until we meet again, this smile will have to do.

Until we meet again, this smile will have to last for awhile.

Before we knew it, we were taking RJ and our son back to Huntsville on Sunday afternoon (after watching a thrilling Houston Texans victory). The kid got a chance to relax, knock the rust off his disc golf game, and even do his homework and prepare for the week (yes, I actually witnessed him studying!).

And the Mister and I got to spend time with our beloved baby boy once again. Totally win-win!